6 New Trends You’re About to Start Seeing at Your Local Grocery Store
While I faithfully attend the massive Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco every year, even I wasn’t prepared for the fact that the show is even larger now, thanks to the newly renovated Moscone Convention Center. Just when I thought I had walked up every aisle, dutifully sampling and sussing out the latest and greatest in food, I realized that there was now an additional floor with more booths to visit!
In the name of research, I visited the show twice this year — just to make sure that I saw everything. After an ice-cold margarita to celebrate the fact that I made it through the whole show, I sorted through all my notes and photos and saw six very clear food trends that you’ll soon see hitting grocery store shelves.
1. Cauliflower Everything
There’s no doubt that cauliflower is still here and shows no sign of slowing down. Beyond cauliflower rice and cauliflower pizza, you can find a whole new crop of cruciferous-based goods. Most everything I saw was cauliflower blended with other ingredients (like cassava or rice flour), and among my favorites were From the Ground Up Cauliflower Pretzels, a A Classic Ranch Cauliflower Crisp from Hippie Snacks, and the just-launched cauliflower tortillas in 2 flavors from Caulipower. Warning: You must love cauliflower, as the flavor is still pretty dominant in all of these products.
Buy: From the Ground Up Cauliflower Pretzels, $21 for six, 4.5-ounce bags
2. Alternative Butters That Taste Good
For those wanting something plant-based to spread on morning toast, here’s some good news: I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious alternative butters have gotten. Milkadamia’s brand-new Macadamia Buttery Spread, made from macadamia nuts, is nice and creamy; Melt makes an Organic Spread as well as Butter Sticks from coconut oil; and Miyoko’s European Style Cultured Vegan Butter, made from coconut oil and cashews, claims that it can even be browned!
Buy: Miyoko’s European Style Cultured Vegan Butter, $7 for 8 ounces at Miyoko’s
3. Dairy-Free or Lactose-Free Ice Creams
Even ice cream makers who started out making regular ice cream from cow’s milk are getting into the dairy-free ice cream game. McConnell’s now makes my absolute favorite flavor, Eureka Lemon and Marionberries, in vegan form with pea protein, and Van Leeuwen’s Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Mint Chip was minty and creamy.
Besides plant-based ice creams, there were also new lactose-free desserts like the ones from Beckon, which are made with real milk and cream but contain no lactose. Rejoice, those who suffer from lactose intolerance but still crave ice cream!
4. Prebiotics and Probiotics in Everything
One of the biggest trends I saw this year was the increase in foods with prebiotics and probiotics — beyond the usual suspects like sauerkraut and yogurt. Snack foods like Vegan Rob’s Probiotic Cauliflower Puffs (MORE cauliflower!) are getting into the probiotic game, and there were prebiotic bars from Truth Bar and Rowdy Prebiotic Foods. For those who prefer to sip their probiotics, I liked The Living Apothecary Probiotic Kefir Water Tea in hibiscus apricot.
5. Japanese-Influenced Flavors
One of my favorite trends from the show was how traditional Japanese flavors are now being used in really delicious new ways. Abokichi Okazu Chili Miso is an umami powerhouse condiment of miso, sesame oil, and chili. Available in spicy or mild, I see myself spooning this over rice or noodles, or using it in a stir-fry.
Haku Mizunara Whiskey Barrel Aged Shoyu had an amazingly delicate-yet-still-deep flavor and would be lovely as a finishing sauce. For a refreshing take on drinking vinegars (aka shrubs), Kuze Fuku & Sons Yuzu Fruit Vinegar Drink Concentrate was one of my favorite sips of the day, lightly sweet-tart with a bright hit of yuzu flavor.
- Abokichi Okazu Chili Miso, $10 for 125 ml at Abokichi
- Haku Mizunara Whiskey Barrel Aged Shoyu, $29 for 375 ml
- Kuze Fuku & Sons Yuzu Fruit Vinegar Drink Concentrate, $9 for 16 ounces at Kuze Fuku & Sons
I’ve heartily embraced the new trend of oat milk in coffee because it really is that tasty and creamy, and it looks like oats are now making their way into other drinks such as GoodBelly Straight Shots, which are shots made with oats and fruit if you want to get a quick fix of probiotics (and MORE probiotics!). For those feeling the effects of the oat milk shortage, Happy Planet and Califia Farms are now joining the popular Oatly brand with their own lines of oat milk, which hopefully means that supplies will be plentiful.
Have you started noticing these trends around already? Which one are you most excited about?